“...we wanted the people that you meet in the world to be credible,”
May 26, 2017 11:36 AM   Subscribe

Far Cry 5 asks you to kill thy neighbor [Polygon] Far Cry 5 [YouTube] takes place in the fictional Hope County in the very real state of Montana — a state that, even today, is wrestling with issues like gun control, religious tolerance and citizen’s access to public lands. Fight against religious fanatics hell-bent on taking over a piece of the American West

• Far Cry 5 promises to be controversial, but not for the usual reasons [The Verge]
“The significance of the game using white, non-military Americans as villains extends beyond the Far Cry franchise. Other than the Grand Theft Auto and Postal series, very few medium-to-large budget video games have used American citizens as lethal targets. Like the action movies of the 1980s, most video games have defaulted to “non-controversial” fodder, like Nazis, indistinctly “foreign” terrorists, robots, aliens, zombies, and, of course, Nazi zombies. Even fewer games have specified a certain type of American as an enemy, preferring to paint with a broad and less controversial brush.”
• Far Cry 5 takes series to deadliest land of all: Disenfranchised America [Ars Technica]
“His impressions of modern America and its return to relative unease hinge less on war and terrorism and more on the late-'00s subprime mortgage crisis. "People in the United States began looking at the government and asking, 'Where are you guys? How are you protecting our legacy? Who’s got their hands on the wheel?'" That, combined with a growing language of "us versus them" among Americans, directed his attention to stories like the Oregon Wildlife Refuge takeover. When he saw that story unfold on the news, his first thought was, "This makes sense." Thus, the Far Cry development team's longtime wish to make a closer-to-home sequel, which Hay said began bubbling up "at the end of Far Cry 3," finally had its tonal angle: a giant, rural-America collective fed up with the American status quo.”
• Far Cry 5 Is A Game About Resisting An American Militia, Will Be Out In February [Kotaku]
“Far Cry 5 was also pitched to press framed against some scene-setting real-world anxiety. The approach has become Ubisoft tradition for their recent games. They debuted Watch Dogs and The Division with reels about the real-world threats of cyber-security and bioterrorism, for example. Hay began his hotel demo of Far Cry 5 with a five-minute monologue about growing up in the ‘80s, living under the threat of nuclear annihilation, and feeling relief in 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell and the Cold War threat seemed to vanish. He said that he recently began to feel anxiety about the state of the world once again. He cited the stock market crash of 2008, the seizure of a federal building by a militia in Oregon last year and Brexit all as manifestations of a splintering society that is focused more on us vs. them and is increasingly skeptical of government. He pitches the game as one about society standing on a precipice.”
• Far Cry 5 feels like a Tarantino-esque attack on modern politics [VG 24/7]
“More than any other game in the series thus far, Far Cry 5 feels as though it’s being built around real-world events and fears. The game is introduced to me within the context of Brexit, the rise of the alt-right, the increasing popularity of private militias and the general growth of populism as a means of securing power seen across many parts of the Western world. One of the tone-setting images flashed up on the projector during a short presentation of Far Cry 5’s planned direction depicts a well-dressed man standing on a cliff edge. The message is clear: is civilised society at the precipice?”
• Far Cry 5 Takes Aim at American Cults and Militias [Tom's Guide]
“Just how much of Far Cry 5 is based on real life, and how much is conspiracy-thriller fantasy? Hay told me that his research into cults and militias had made a profound impact on both his viewpoints and his lifestyle. Hope, Montana, may be a fictional place, but groups like Eden’s Gate are very real. Whether they will ever erupt into violent conflict is anyone’s guess, and depends a lot on how the American political climate shapes up over the next few years. “It’s difficult to say how much modern events influenced Far Cry 5,” Hay told me. “The game is not specifically about who’s in power. It’s about a feeling, here and now, that something is wrong.” An unsettling thought — but who ever said that video games had to be reassuring?”
posted by Fizz (77 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
Fight against religious fanatics hell-bent on taking over a piece of the American West

Oh man oh man. "The Bradways are among the vanguard moving to an area of the Pacific Northwest known as the American Redoubt,"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:41 AM on May 26 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm pretty much about done with my home state being used as shorthand for "uneducated, backwards yokel".
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:43 AM on May 26 [12 favorites]


I'm super excited by the hype for this game. I like the Far Cry games, even though their open world formula has gotten tedious in its infinite replication. They're still good fun and they've done a great job with character and story for this style of game (admittedly, a low bar). I love the exoticism of Far Cry 4 and the strange-yet-familiar setting in Far Cry Primal.

Turning this outlandish treatment on to a mythological American West, man, that's gonna be great. I'm particularly excited to see how this plays out for European gamers.
posted by Nelson at 11:44 AM on May 26 [7 favorites]


To NoxAeternum's point about his home state, it is a bit surprising they went with a real state instead of a fake videogame place like the State of San Andreas, Kyrat, the Rook Islands, or Panau. I think the game would work just as well if it were set in a sort of amalgam of Montana/Wyoming/Utah/Idaho with a made up name, maybe the state of Jackson. It'd let them compress the geography too put some red sandstone canyons on one corner of the map.
posted by Nelson at 11:47 AM on May 26 [10 favorites]


Turning this outlandish treatment on to a mythological American West, man, that's gonna be great.

Except that's not what they're doing. They're turning it on the place where I fucking live. And they're also showing that they don't actually understand either the militia or white supremacist movements, if they're basing it around a cult (want one of those? Go down to Utah and the FLDS controlled towns.)
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:48 AM on May 26 [15 favorites]


I think the game would work just as well if it were set in a sort of amalgam of Montana/Wyoming/Utah/Idaho with a made up name, maybe the state of Jackson.

Set it in the state of Jefferson, then. Would be more thematically appropriate.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:50 AM on May 26 [4 favorites]


I have absolutely no faith in the ability of Ubisoft to pull this off without leaving their self-satisfied dudebro stink all over it.
posted by howfar at 11:50 AM on May 26 [26 favorites]


They're turning it on the place where I fucking live. And they're also showing that they don't actually understand either the militia or white supremacist movements, if they're basing it around a cult

Yeah, and they've made 4 others in places where other human beings live with as superficial an understanding of the sociopolitical forces going on. I'm not arguing this makes the setting a good idea at all, mind you. It's just exactly what they've been doing for the whole series.
posted by Room 101 at 11:52 AM on May 26 [28 favorites]


By which I mean I'd bet dollars to dickheads it will manage to be racist, classist and misogynistic while congratulating itself on being challenging and edgy.
posted by howfar at 11:52 AM on May 26 [18 favorites]


I have absolutely no faith in the ability of Ubisoft to pull this off without leaving their self-satisfied dudebro stink all over it.

By which I mean I'd bet dollars to dickheads it will manage to be racist, classist and misogynistic while congratulating itself on being challenging and edgy.


Although it seems that you're going to be able to customize the race and gender of your character for the first time in Far Cry, so that's something.
posted by Huck500 at 11:53 AM on May 26 [1 favorite]


The saddest thing I've read so far is excerpted from the Kotaku article:
“In a change for the series, you can choose to play as a man or woman and pick your skin color. You’re a junior deputy on the police force, though how you wound up in Hope County is a secret. At Far Cry 5’s press event in New York, Hay talked reporters through the opening events of the game on condition we wouldn’t report it… presumably because Ubisoft wants to save that for an E3 demo or something. Far Cry 4’s Hutchinson had said at E3 2013 that the team on that game was very close to including the option to play as a woman in that game. This sequel finally delivers that option.”
As if they should be praised for giving gamers the option to choose to play as a woman or a person of colour. As if we should be grateful for something that should be a fucking given. Ugh.
posted by Fizz at 11:54 AM on May 26 [13 favorites]


I'm not arguing this makes the setting a good idea at all, mind you. It's just exactly what they've been doing for the whole series.

And as someone who lives in their "setting", you'll pardon me if I'm taking this a bit fucking personally.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:55 AM on May 26


Yeah, I'm pretty much about done with my home state being used as shorthand for "uneducated, backwards yokel".

Try living in Texas. Just embrace it.
posted by cmoj at 11:57 AM on May 26 [31 favorites]


As far as reactions to the announcement stuff goes, I particularly liked Austin Walker's 'Far Cry 5' Is About Living Under Fear in America where he balances some cautious optimism about the game against distrust the series has earned regarding its handling of the themes it's playing with in this 5th one due to blunders its made in past entries.
posted by sparkletone at 12:00 PM on May 26 [6 favorites]


So on the one hand I am looking forward to whatever point in the game gives you a suppressed antimateriel rifle that I can use to play Little Bunny Foo Foo. On the other hand, yeah, it seems obvious even now that they're going to make it "edgy" by doing something like having the feds come in as the second-round mooks so you have to shoot Good Americans too.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:00 PM on May 26 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I'm pretty much about done with my home state being used as shorthand for "uneducated, backwards yokel".

Try living in Texas. Just embrace it.


Or New York or India or Japan or pretty much anyplace. It sucks that humans tend to be so reductive in how they portray other places or cultures in media.

I'm not defending this at all. It's just a shit sandwich that we've all taken a bite of from time to time. So I understand your frustration NoxAeternum. It's how I feel any time someone asks me about curry if I happen to mention that I was born in India. Or if they make a joke about having to speak slower because I grew up in Texas.
posted by Fizz at 12:02 PM on May 26 [9 favorites]


As if they should be praised for giving gamers the option to choose to play as a woman or a person of colour. As if we should be grateful for something that should be a fucking given. Ugh.

Yeah, but both still grossly underrepresented, and depending on the stats you believe, punished by market forces, so I'm not sure praise is a bad idea.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:08 PM on May 26 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I'm pretty much about done with my home state being used as shorthand for "uneducated, backwards yokel".

Hi, Alabama person here. Wut?
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:11 PM on May 26 [29 favorites]


sparkletone: That's still a bad piece, because the author is avoiding the elephant in the room - how the setup grossly misunderstands how the militia and white supremacist movements actually work by building their antagonists around a cult that is foreign to the area.

I'm getting reminded of Extra Credits' excellent takedown of Call of Juarez: The Cartel, and the core point they make - games that misinform about actual real world issues are dangerous because they warp perception of that issue.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:15 PM on May 26 [8 favorites]


¯\_(ツ)_/¯

And it's not like Montana doesn't have a super long and very specific history with separatist militias.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:17 PM on May 26 [9 favorites]


I live in the part of Montana that Hope County is clearly based on, and have tangential (and for me, unwilling) connections to people involved in far-right politics. They and their friends know I'm an outspoken lefty and they've made some halfhearted attempts at intimidating me: particularly charming was their sharing labeled and annotated satellite maps of my property on facebook.

Back in the 90s, the last time there was a similar resurgence in white-nationalist extremism in this area, my (wonderful, kind, Native American) neighbor made a joke about Nazis to some strangers a couple towns over. When he was napping one afternoon they came out of the woods and shot at his house, bullets going through his living room window right above where he was sleeping.

I'm not interested in playing this game, on Playstation or in life: it might be fun, but only if it's not your home.
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:22 PM on May 26 [34 favorites]


they've made 4 others in places where other human beings live

But they haven't used a real place before. Far Cry 4 is set in Kyrat. You and I might understand it as a lot like Nepal, but it's not-Nepal. Far Cry 3 is in the Rook Islands. Sure it feels like Indonesia, but it's not called that and the people are not Indonesians. Similarly Far Cry 2 is set in not-Democratic Republic of Congo and Far Cry 1 is in non-specific South Pacific islands.

Given the history of fictional-but-familiar settings with Far Cry games, it's striking that this one is explicitly Montana. I'm OK with it, because it's still a fictional place in Montana and I immediately translate this to the mythology of the American West without worrying about Montana specifically. But I can totally see why NoxAeternum is pissed about it. And I am puzzled why they didn't just make up a fake state name.

they're also showing that they don't actually understand either the militia or white supremacist movements, if they're basing it around a cult

I'm not sure that's fair, it's hard to tell from what we've seen so far. There's certainly plenty of religious cults in the region. I agree that FLDS is the closest real-world analog in the US, and that's on the Utah/Arizona border and not up in Montana. But, eh, close enough. Bountiful, BC is an FLDS colony and it's just 30 miles northwest of Montana. (And I'm glad they didn't explicitly go with FLDS, for all sorts of reasons.)
posted by Nelson at 12:24 PM on May 26 [2 favorites]


And I am puzzled why they didn't just make up a fake state name.

Hell, there's a perfect historical imaginary state that would have been perfect to use - Jefferson. It would have fit perfectly, culturally and thematically.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:29 PM on May 26 [5 favorites]


I'm typing to you from State of Jefferson territory (Grass Valley, CA), and that's why I made up the name Jackson instead. I don't want this shit so close to home either :-)
posted by Nelson at 12:30 PM on May 26


Does Hope County have a lot of lakes? Why is there a Piper Cub with pontoons, other than it looks cool?
posted by lagomorphius at 12:31 PM on May 26


Does Hope County have a lot of lakes? Why is there a Piper Cub with pontoons, other than it looks cool?

Most likely they're setting Hope County in the Flathead region (a.k.a. Richard Spencer's old stomping grounds), which does have a number of large lakes.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:34 PM on May 26 [2 favorites]


Alt right shitheads are having a fucking meltdown about this on twitter. White genocide propaganda, etc. etc.
posted by turntraitor at 12:37 PM on May 26 [12 favorites]


It would be much more interesting if you played the religious militant hillbillies for a change. The world has a lot of sinners who need to embrace God or the end of a barrel.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:38 PM on May 26 [5 favorites]


If you want to play out that fantasy, just join an actual militia.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:45 PM on May 26 [5 favorites]


I enjoyed the time I've spent with the Far Cry games, but I don't believe this is going to be any better done than the previous, very problematic, games. Far Cry, at it's heart, has one verb. Murder. Open world, tactically varied, highly polished murder, but always murder. I don't have faith in Ubisoft's ability to reinvent the formula to a point where it can tell a story that doesn't, at its heart, revolve around over-the-top mass slaughter, and as such I just can't believe they will be able to tell the story they seem to be hinting at.
posted by aspo at 12:51 PM on May 26 [2 favorites]


Hi, Jewish lawyer from Brooklyn here. Welcome to the party, pal. You're finally prominent enough in the public psyche to have your very own fucko stereotype! We'll send you the starter kit.
posted by 1adam12 at 12:52 PM on May 26 [48 favorites]


Although it seems that you're going to be able to customize the race and gender of your character for the first time in Far Cry, so that's something.

You're still playing a cop.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:06 PM on May 26 [2 favorites]


That's not fair aspo, there's also all the ways to get to the murder.
posted by vanar sena at 1:07 PM on May 26 [1 favorite]


> You're still playing a cop.

It's not a series that's ever made more than a mild pretence at being an RPG, so I think this is excusable. There's a platonic ideal game in my mind that's a mixture of the best parts of TES, Witcher 3, Mass Effect, Far Cry and New Vegas. If that game appeared I'd probably play little else for ten years. More if they just kept shovelling more content at it every year or so.
posted by vanar sena at 1:17 PM on May 26 [4 favorites]


It'd be great if media (especially videogames) could stop representing real places with the ugliest sterotypes the developers could think of, half of which don't even apply to that place (Resident Evil 5's "Africa," lord). It'd be great if games could bother to research other cultures and explore serious issues intelligently and with nuance.

I mean, they can, obviously, and they do all the time, but for some reason it's antithetical to "AAA" games and for some reason "AAA" games are the only ones that really matter, and they have a long, ugly history of stirring up "controversy" for the sake of marketing so here we are again.
posted by byanyothername at 1:20 PM on May 26 [1 favorite]


It's not a series that's ever made more than a mild pretence at being an RPG, so I think this is excusable

I think that's kind of the issue. If Bioware or CD Project RED had produced this, I'd be spellbound and sure that they would be telling a really solid story. But absent that, I don't think we'll actually get the complexities the idea promises.

FarCry has always been about stereotyped Others and killing them - so, at the same time, it's bad that they are doing that yet again, but it's also worth noting that nobody cared when they were Foreign Others. So I kind of hate both FarCry and the people who are suddenly realizing it's problematic when it's about people like them?
posted by corb at 1:22 PM on May 26 [15 favorites]


Except that's not what they're doing. They're turning it on the place where I fucking live.

As someone who, raised and living in the US deep south, has had to live with my region's stereotypes and with my fellow citizens who try to live down to them, I feel for you. OTOH, as the person upthread wrote ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

As for the game—well, it looks cool. And I have a certain amount of cynical admiration for a company which tries so shamelessly to profit off the anti-Trump demo. Combine that with the spectacle of Alt-Right tears and I almost want to say "Well played, sirs! Well played."
posted by octobersurprise at 1:28 PM on May 26 [13 favorites]


I should clarify, because you can't do content edits, that by "people" I mean "Alt-Right People", not "Mefites".
posted by corb at 1:31 PM on May 26 [5 favorites]


Man I can't wait to see the gamer gate types react to this.
posted by empath at 1:35 PM on May 26 [1 favorite]


I'll save you a trip to reddit: "THIS IS WHITE GENOCIDE!!!!"
posted by tobascodagama at 1:45 PM on May 26 [3 favorites]


Man I can't wait to see the gamer gate types react to this.
posted by empath


Well, Vox Day thinks it's great, basically saying "Do they not realize how cool they made us look?".
posted by 445supermag at 1:51 PM on May 26


Well, Vox Day thinks it's great, basically saying "Do they not realize how cool they made us look?"

To be fair, I expect Vox Day says the same thing about Schindler's List.
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:53 PM on May 26 [23 favorites]


- the game is a "dude bro"
- Select skin color? too little too late. time to die
- used a real state's name instead of having it take place in Dream Village.
- characters interact in 3D space instead of 2D (more pure, fantastical)
- main character's name is MR. BOOT STRAPS
- gameplay is primarily about doing violence upon the mentally unstable
- normalizes denim
- story is not accurate, and appears to be "made up" i.e., a lie
- the developers are forcing people use money (dead labor) to play the game, literally draining the lifeforce of the innocent and simple minded masses
posted by Alterity at 1:59 PM on May 26 [26 favorites]


FarCry has always been about stereotyped Others and killing them - so, at the same time, it's bad that they are doing that yet again, but it's also worth noting that nobody cared when they were Foreign Others. So I kind of hate both FarCry and the people who are suddenly realizing it's problematic when it's about people like them?

Indeed. Specifically calling out Far Cry 4's portrayal of Asian people and the myriad of hateful stereotypes it employed.
posted by Fizz at 2:09 PM on May 26 [2 favorites]


The Far Cry series has had the same general concept (open world FPS in exotic setting), but they don't all approach the world in the same way. The first one was a straightforward action movie with aliens in the end. The second one was a much more serious meditation on war and did the Heart of Darkness thing before Spec Ops: The Line was a glimmer in the tearful praise of game critics. Not that it was perfect, and certainly didn't do a great job representing real-world humanitarian crises, but it didn't have much Othering given that you played a foreign mercenary and half the people you fought were the same. The third one was when the "dudebro" nature crept in, papered over with nonsensical irony explanations and shallow Alice in Wonderland references. The fourth one was the third one with the "dudebro" somewhat scaled back- you were playing a child of immigrants coming home to your exotic homeland. The unserious, maniacal chaos tone from the third one was retained, however. And then you had the Far Cry set in an '80s pastiche, and the one in prehistoric times.

So yeah, Jason Brody set a harsh and discordant tone for the series, but he happened midway. I'm not sure if it's fair to critique each game through the same lens, especially since the studio has change much over the years. Far Cry 2 was the only one to feature renowned game director Clint Hocking; he's returned to Ubisoft now since then, but it's uncertain if he's working on Far Cry 5.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:22 PM on May 26 [3 favorites]


On the plus side, or maybe the minus side, I found Far Cry 2 to be a convincing simulation of being a mercenary doing pointless violence in someone else's country; so I stopped playing.
posted by zompist at 2:22 PM on May 26 [2 favorites]


they're also showing that they don't actually understand either the militia or white supremacist movements, if they're basing it around a cult

It would not surprise me at all if this was entirely intentional as a means of deflecting criticism about a potentially unfair portrayal of the people of Montana. "Oh we're not saying anything bad about the people of the state, this cult is clearly a bunch of outsiders from elsewhere etc."
posted by juv3nal at 2:27 PM on May 26


This had me wondering if Sleeping Dogs was considered an offensive portrayal of Hong Kong and its residents, and it doesn't appear to have suffered much backlash. So it seems possible to do a fairly cartoonish/stereotypical portrayal of a real place without going overboard. The only problem is that this series had used up its benefit of doubt with Far Cry 3. The odds are that it will be a silly game with straightforward but solid gameplay, like all the others.
posted by vanar sena at 2:32 PM on May 26


vanar sena, you should read this review about Sleeping Dogs from Kotaku: What Sleeping Dogs Gets So Right About Being An Asian American
“Sleeping Dogs shines when its characters relate and communicate, however awkwardly, across cultural boundaries. And as such, it's one of the first video games, in my memory, that gives an Asian American male protagonist an active love life. Not only that — it is a love life full of complexity, and fraught with interracial implications. In Sleeping Dogs, the first woman Wei dates is Amanda, a blonde, blue-eyed, wide-eyed white woman. I've become used to seeing Asian men in asexual or feminized roles in American culture — from Charlie Chan to Mr. Yunioshi to Long Duk Dong to William Hung to every tech nerd supporting character in Hollywood. I was surprised — shocked, even — to see an Asian American male character who was romantically involved with any woman, let alone a white woman, in a mainstream production. Typically, Asian men are paired with Asian women. It's the more socially 'acceptable' option, and mainstream representations of Asian men in relationships don't usually involve an interracial pairing. Sleeping Dogs represents a more open-minded idea of romantic interests, and plays on people's preconceptions.”
posted by Fizz at 2:43 PM on May 26 [5 favorites]


I'm not sure if it's fair to critique each game through the same lens, especially since the studio has change much over the years.

I dunno. I mean, yes Far Cry 3 was grotesquely, horrifically and unredeemably racist, but I personally get the same sickened feeling from Assassin's Creed and their take on PoP. The Ubi games I've played always remind me of a conversation I had with a guy I met at university, who tried to explain why he thought "everyone logically has to be a feminist", during which it became obvious that he thought believing in legal equality was the same thing as feminism, and that he was actually a misogynist piece of shit. It's that same "Oh I am totally gonna blow your mind, maaann" bullshit.
posted by howfar at 2:43 PM on May 26


It would not surprise me at all if this was entirely intentional as a means of deflecting criticism about a potentially unfair portrayal of the people of Montana. "Oh we're not saying anything bad about the people of the state, this cult is clearly a bunch of outsiders from elsewhere etc."

The promos already lionize the native Montanans for being part of "the Resistance" who are trying to fight off this outsider cult.

There's rumors that the cult is led by some Hollywood type- the "crosses" on the flag are clearly resembling the Scientology symbol. A deep and well-researched examination of Dominion Theology in American politics, this ain't. This is just cribbing from Bush era stock villains- take a couple of Bible verses, toss it in a Jesus camp, wrap it up in Old Glory and sprinkle in some non-Christian weirdness as a disclaimer that this game was made by a multicultural team of various faiths and beliefs not seeking to disturb evangelical sensibilities.

It's like how in military games you're never truly fighting the Russians, but ultranationalists or a rogue general or something else like that. Plausible artistic deniability.

The Far Cry games already do a lot of that. In Far Cry 3 the fake-Polynesians being victimized by outsider pirates and slavers, led by a South African. In Far Cry 4 the fake-Nepalese were being oppressed by a half-Chinese gangster from Hong Kong. Both sets of villains had henchmen from multicultural backgrounds. Both games cameoed a CIA agent who went around showing how insensitive and uncouth Ugly Americans are. Both had sinister top henchmen of European or Australian backgrounds. Both games also showed that the locals had suspect religious beliefs and were not above betraying you for their primitive native agendas. Far Cry 2 has the multicultural mercenary cast but it didn't particularly exoticize the local Africans so much as not give them much stake in determining their country's future- but then, it doesn't really give you one, either.

With such diverse casting and comic book-level attempt at moral complexity (of the make every character unpleasant and unsympathetic variety) it makes it harder to straight up say "this game is racist." Given that the games are from Ubisoft Montreal, it almost feels like a stereotypical Canadian approach of preventing people from feeling offended by being politely diverse.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:44 PM on May 26 [6 favorites]


There's rumors that the cult is led by some Hollywood type- the "crosses" on the flag are clearly resembling the Scientology symbol.

That's interesting. A few of the articles I linked to up above, saw that symbol as being more closely associated with the German Iron Cross. It's only just now that I'm thinking of the cult-like comparisons to Scientology. Probably a combination of both.
posted by Fizz at 2:53 PM on May 26


This also just scrolled past my timeline. It's kind of perfect.
Frog Twitter: LOL bodyslam that reporter!

Also Frog Twitter: WHYYYY is Far Cry 5 portraying violent conservatives?! 😱😭— Abel (From Away) (@AbelUndercity) May 26, 2017
posted by Fizz at 2:55 PM on May 26 [9 favorites]


I finally got around to playing Far Cry 4 in the last week or so, and it's pretty good, from a "playing a game" perspective (though the unskippable cutscenes are annoying as hell).

I've enjoyed the time I've spent with all the FC games, if I'm honest, but I really dislike having to kill non-human animals to progress and for that reason avoided Primal since that seemed to be literally all it was.

But this looks very cool indeed, and perhaps with more than just a white male protagonist? I will delve into the commentary. Thanks for a great collection of links.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:57 PM on May 26


Someone on reddit linked to this article, an interview with the game writer for Far Cry 3. Feels appropriate given the conversation we're having: Far Cry 3’s Jeffrey Yohalem On Racism, Torture And Satire [Rock Paper Shotgun]
RPS: When I got to the end of the game what I saw was a depiction of a tribe, standing topless in simple clothes, dancing in a tribalistic way. It was very clearly an image of this archaic 19th century perspective of natives on an island. And I was given the choice to join them and as a white man become their leader, or walk away. I’m not quite sure how that squares up with a dramatic statement. How is it more than what I saw on the screen?

Jeffrey Yohalem: [Very animated] Because if you choose to become a part of that tribe and become their leader, it’s completely manufactured in your head! It doesn’t come from them at all! They never said “become our leader”! She says “become our king”, she doesn’t say “become our leader”! And then if you choose the tribe, she kills you! It turns out you were being used by them. The entire time you thought you were the leader of the whole tribe, you were nothing. You were just a gun that she upgraded with tattoos.

RPS: But is that any different from the tribe making you their leader, carrying you on their shoulders, and then boiling you in a pot?

Jeffrey Yohalem: [laughs] Yeah! It’s exactly… I’m playing with all of that! The game is about playing. I was just reading an article this morning about the conceptual artist who did Lose/Lose, the space invaders game that deleted your files, created by Zach Gage. He did a piece where you’d come in a museum, and stand in front of the piece, and when you stand in front of it, it tallies that you stood in front of it. The point was to be a satire of popularity. Why would you judge something by the number of people who’ve seen it? Some people said, “This is great, that I stood in front of this piece and it’s acknowledging my existence.” So they were missing the satire. The artist is very clear in the article about what he wanted to say with that piece.
The interview is much longer and worth reading in its entirety. I'm not sure I buy everything that Jeffrey has to say. I dislike the idea of censoring art and media like this, but there's also a responsibility that comes with creating that art and what happens when you put it out there for others to consume. I think that too often that part of the equation is glossed over.
posted by Fizz at 3:10 PM on May 26 [5 favorites]


But they haven't used a real place before. Far Cry 4 is set in Kyrat. You and I might understand it as a lot like Nepal, but it's not-Nepal. Far Cry 3 is in the Rook Islands. Sure it feels like Indonesia, but it's not called that and the people are not Indonesians. Similarly Far Cry 2 is set in not-Democratic Republic of Congo and Far Cry 1 is in non-specific South Pacific islands.

Given the history of fictional-but-familiar settings with Far Cry games, it's striking that this one is explicitly Montana. I'm OK with it, because it's still a fictional place in Montana and I immediately translate this to the mythology of the American West without worrying about Montana specifically. But I can totally see why NoxAeternum is pissed about it. And I am puzzled why they didn't just make up a fake state name.


If the place is easily recognized from the fictional depiction, I don't see how giving it a fake name makes it less offensive. Can someone who feels that it does significantly mitigate the impact say a little more about what makes them feel that way?
posted by layceepee at 3:14 PM on May 26 [1 favorite]


If you don't say which state this game is set in, at least the people from a particular one won't feel particularly targeted. They could've just said Hope County, Rocky Mountain country. Is Montana truly so unmistakable from Idaho, or any others in the vicinity?
posted by Apocryphon at 3:17 PM on May 26


There's rumors that the cult is led by some Hollywood type- the "crosses" on the flag are clearly resembling the Scientology symbol.

If I could hunt David Miscavige, I'd buy the game in a heartbeat.
posted by octobersurprise at 3:19 PM on May 26 [5 favorites]


RPS: But is that any different from the tribe making you their leader, carrying you on their shoulders, and then boiling you in a pot?
Jeffrey Yohalem: [laughs] Yeah! It’s exactly… I’m playing with all of that!


Yeah, rich white dude 'playing' with racism, colonialism, etc., then acting all surprised that not everybody picks up on his brilliant satire?

Hard pass.
posted by signal at 3:19 PM on May 26 [3 favorites]


Not a big AAA gamer, don't know anything about the Farcry series except the art on the posters has always fascinated me; looks like some amazing colourful fantasy world. Disappointed it's just another game where you murder people, that inspires rigorous debate about whether the people you get to murder are appropriately represented, and whether you get to select the gender and race of the person doing the murdering.
posted by Jimbob at 3:51 PM on May 26 [2 favorites]


Not to excuse it in any way, but Far Cry 3 was 4 far cries ago, and the writer quoted above had not worked on any other Far Cry games.
posted by aspo at 3:53 PM on May 26


I loved Far Cry 3 and liked Far Cry 4. I look forward to Far Cry 5. I particularly like the feel and dynamics of the Far Cry physics engine.
posted by LoveHam at 4:11 PM on May 26 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm pretty much about done with my home state being used as shorthand for "uneducated, backwards yokel".

We Floridians feel really sorry for you.
posted by saladin at 4:23 PM on May 26 [7 favorites]


I immensely enjoyed the gameplay of Far Cry 3, while resenting the stupid tone-deaf story that the game insisted I should be caring about. Far Cry 4 was more of the same, with more elevation changes and a groovy little helicopter to play with. Whatever. By then I was tired of the same old gameplay loop, though loosing enraged elephants on one's enemies was kinda fun. Didn't play Primal.

Far Cry 5 looks like another slick Ubisoft murder simulator - tight and responsive shooting in a vast and reactive environment. All very pretty and fun to be had, but ultimately an iteration on the same game they've been pumping out for years. At this point I go into Far Cry games expecting repellant stories, hoping that there's enough exploration and tricksy strategies to offset.

So, yeah, when it's marked down to $15 I'll probably play this one too. And honestly I hafta admit that as a lefty atheist in the reddest of red states, there is a nasty little part of me that's going to really enjoy blowing away white right-wing religious fanatics, and I guess I should be ashamed of that, but I'm not. It can't be worse than the thoughts I've had during Thanksgiving dinners whenever my Quiverfull Moral Majority dittohead uncle starts yapping about The Mooslems Takin' Over because he saw a woman in a headscarf.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:13 PM on May 26


As if they should be praised for giving gamers the option to choose to play as a woman or a person of colour. As if we should be grateful for something that should be a fucking given. Ugh.

I understand the sentiment, but I don't know, I feel like they should. Congratulating someone for doing the right thing and joining humanity seems like a better stance than just saying "too late, fuck you". I mean, what's their other option? Ceasing to exist? Going back in time and doing it differently? I understand the satisfaction of having the right opinion sooner, but how does excluding the latecomers help?

People are always going to be racists, misogynists, etc. I want that to be socially unacceptable. Changing everyone's hearts or demanding they be that way from birth isn't realistic. I'll settle for doing the right thing and keeping their mouth shut if they don't really believe it.
posted by bongo_x at 5:23 PM on May 26 [12 favorites]


For my part, I just hope they do a good job of representing what's interesting about us as a setting: the geography, climate, local groups with opinions about things and how that plays out as fuzzy-bordered factions with people mistrustful of both cultists and the feds opposing them, etc etc.

I certainly wouldn't be mollified if they set it in a "nameless" location that was Montana with the label turned away from cameras.

And, c'mon, CUT has an isolationist compound just one valley over from where I live. Radical outsider cultists with a stockpile of guns is not at all a big stretch. Although yeah, a nuanced depiction would avoid picking a la carte stereotypes from the militia and white supremacist and cultist groups and mashing them up into one generic badguy group. Like when comedy shows have Christian fundamentalists that are like Latter-Day Baptamish Catholuritans.

(Also as I understand it CUT got rid of their gun stockpile and invited the feds in to inspect their compound, because they wanted to avoid the other ways things could have gone down. Reality is always more nuanced.)
posted by traveler_ at 7:04 PM on May 26 [5 favorites]


Far Cry 5 is scheduled to be released Feb. 27, 2018

Shit, are we still going to have electricity by then?
posted by bongo_x at 7:14 PM on May 26 [5 favorites]


there is a nasty little part of me that's going to really enjoy blowing away white right-wing religious fanatics, and I guess I should be ashamed of that, but I'm not.

No reason to be ashamed of it any more than one would be ashamed of never speaking to Legion scum* or of just shooting Danse in his stupid Brotherhood head when you first run into him instead of getting sucked into their bigotry.

*New Vegas forces you to speak with one Legion spy but you can kill him immediately afterwards.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:03 PM on May 26 [2 favorites]


Whew! Good thing this media property portrays populism as a weird death-cult!
posted by Hiding From Goro at 10:49 PM on May 26


(Also as I understand it CUT got rid of their gun stockpile and invited the feds in to inspect their compound, because they wanted to avoid the other ways things could have gone down. Reality is always more nuanced.)

That's the thing - a cult controlling a whole Montana county through violence and terror would last all of...maybe one day, before Bullock sends in the National Guard to deal with the problem, while getting legal orders to freeze their assets. We may have a lot of rural areas, but it's not like an active terrorist organization isn't going to get the hammer dropped on them.

Which again comes back to "this concept misinterprets the actual issue." The militia movement isn't about controlling an entire populace through terror, but being "the voice of the silent majority", enforcing their will on the underclass.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:32 AM on May 27 [1 favorite]


Reality is always more nuanced.

I can't think of the name of the group, but I remember something vaguely similar in Arkansas, when I was a kid. Weeks long standoff and then the apocalyptic group decided apocalypses were for suckers. Gave up and that was that.

Also think of David Koresh and how everyone, including Koresh, could have lived if the authorities had just arrested him when he was by himself, outside of the compound, on his daily jog.

Makes me wish this game had that option. Your first mission is to go observe, which sets up the initial firefight. But, in the game's open world, you drive right instead of left. See the cult leader at the Piggly Wiggly. By himself. You quietly go in. Make an arrest in the deli section. Get the "You Win!" screen with a cutscene of the cult being initially defiant but ultimately falling apart without their messiah. Would be a nice easter egg on how these things often don't take a small war to resolve.
posted by honestcoyote at 3:21 AM on May 27 [3 favorites]


That is entirely possible with the Far Cry series. In the last game, right at the very beginning if you ignore your friend being tortured and simply play along with the cruel (but fabulous) dictator, he wraps up the main quest in a matter of minutes and also spoils a major plot point. Credits roll.

Several hundred/low thousands of deaths averted and resumption of a fairly brutal civil war skipped entirely. Won't do anything about the slow-burn horror show of his oppressive regime, but there's no telling what's going to follow after you depose him, either.

Far Cry 4 remains my favorite Far Cry. The second was just unrelentingly miserable (the only one I haven't finished because, as noted above: a little too good at simulating being a foreign mercenary tracking a psychopath through war-torn Africa), and the third was unrelentingly offensive in its white-bro-messiah-to-the-polynesians BS.

If you're curious about the series, I'd recommend starting with 4...and also stopping with 4 after you've finished it.
posted by Ryvar at 5:09 AM on May 27 [4 favorites]


The description and trailer reminds me a bit of some of the more uninformed articles and comments during the Malheur occupation, but in video game format.

Having said that, I'm not a video game player at all but that trailer looks like it could double for a trashy but fun B-movie that I would happily watch. I agree with the comments above that it would seem stronger to have located in a made-up or simply unnamed state, rather than in caricatured-but-named-Montana, especially given that the others in the series apparently used fictionalized places.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:40 AM on May 27


[One comment deleted. As ever, please don't make ironic-racist comments, even to showcase how bad those beliefs are and how much you reject them.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:02 AM on May 27 [1 favorite]


Far Cry 3’s Jeffrey Yohalem On Racism, Torture And Satire [Rock Paper Shotgun]

That interview is amazing: how hilariously proud the writer is of calling the location "Rook Island" and of framing the story with a bunch of quotes from Alice in Wonderland; the soul-killing realization that his artistic goal--his gold standard of excellence--was to write a story as good as the one from the movie Avatar.
posted by straight at 1:49 PM on May 27


The best Far Cry is Blood Dragon. No racism there!
posted by ymgve at 7:26 AM on May 29


But they haven't used a real place before.

Not in the the Far Cry series, but Bolivia Is Not Pleased About Its Depiction In Ghost Recon: Wildlands
posted by zakur at 10:56 AM on May 30


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